County grant writer Steve Newton said the county will be applying for TIGER IV Grant funding for the project.
“The maximum cost expectation for this project is $6 million,” Newton said.
$3.6 million of the funding would come from the TIGER grant program, if awarded, with the county providing a 40 percent match, or $2.4 million, Newton said.
The money will be used to create the roadway system at Keystone Industrial Park, located at Exit 27 of I-85 at SC 81.
“A road that we’re tentatively calling Keystone Parkway,” Newton said. “It would service the acreage back there, and correct some of the old rural, farm-to-market roads that are in there, with very narrow right of ways and culverts that very much need replacing. It would really be a benefit to that area.”
County officials hope the project will draw new industry to the park.
“You could have a blend of industrial and commercial over in there,” Newton said. “According to our economic development folks, it’s a very attractive site and anything we can do to improve the amenities and make it more attractive would be a benefit to us.”
If the funds are awarded, construction could start in January 2013 and continue to the next fiscal year.
“The construction probably will go on until sometime after July,” Newton said.
Newton told finance committee members Friday that research has shown that TIGER grant projects are more likely to be approved if more funding is provided at the local level.
“For our type of project, in my judgment, we need to offer a more of a match than we’ve offered in the past,” Newton said. “We’ve been offering twenty percent. It seems like we really need to offer twenty percent to be in the ballgame.”
Under the guidelines of the grant, counties can offer as much or as little of a match as they want to, Newton said.
“My research indicates that if we want to demonstrate that we are quite serious about getting this project funded, it would behoove us to consider bumping up the amount of match we’ve been offering for this project,” Newton said.
County Administrator Rusty Burns said the project is “a very audacious proposal.”
“In the past, we’ve put twenty percent money in the proposal and we’ve not been successful,” Burns said.
The match would not have to be immediately available, Burns said.
“We will put this match together from various sources in order to do this,” he said.
He said Democrats and Republicans are each working on “giant transportation bills” to be put forth possibly after the election.
“What we’re trying to do is get our foot in the door, give us a chance to buy a lottery ticket for this process,” Burns said.
County Councilwoman M. Cindy Wilson asked if the match would have to come out of the budget of one fiscal year.
“If we were awarded this project … before we sign the award, we will have to demonstrate our commitment,” Newton said. “But with the time frame for the project, I believe we could do this over two fiscal years.”
“So while we commit to the funding, we would have some flexibility in that we can access two fiscal year budgets?” Wilson said.
“Yes, ma’am, we would have some breathing room there,” Newton replied.
“That would be a huge help,” he said.
Finance Committee Chairman Francis Crowder said the county had applied for TIGER funding in the past, to help bring jobs to Anderson County.
Crowder said the county wanted to develop “spade-ready sites at key locations.”
“The county, realizing that the county was in destitute straits from its own operation, and the possibility that the general legislature could cut local government funding … we’ve got to be able to look for sources elsewhere,” Crowder said.
TIGER funding is earmarked for “developing community infrastructure for economic development,” Crowder said.